My Family

My Family
Here we all are!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Cultural Literacy - Sort Of

I take my role as a caucasian mother raising AA children very seriously.  So much cultural information that  a AA child might pick up just being in a black family or community generally becomes a purposeful conversation for us.  Some are important pieces of history or teaching racial slurs so they know when they are being insulted - a coping skill they definitely need to know.  Then there are the hilarious or absurd conversations as the one we had last night.

My Ella is a very curvy girl already and will become more so as she grows and giving her a good self image is utmost on my mind when I look at how quickly she is physically maturing.  So conversations such as we had in the car last night are important for us to have.  What a huge disservice I would do to my daughter to send her out into the world completely ignorant to her history and culture.  Therefore, we had a talk about big butts - yes a very cultural conversation.

While switching stations they were listening to a hip hop song which had a reference to a girl's big backyard - not sure they heard it, but I started gabbing that many hip hop songs make references to, well, big butts - which is cultural.  So, I started telling Ella what a great apple bottom she has and how when a black woman asks, "Do these pants make my butt look big?" and someone says yes - this is the answer they're hoping to hear.  On the other hand, a white woman would likely be insulted.  "Isn't that silly," I said.

Then I launched into the song from Sir Mix-A-Lot that they know from Shrek, "I like big butts and I cannot lie!"

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Special Olympics flashback

Callie and Christian are both old enough to participate in Special Olympics now, so I signed them up for track and field.  Chad, who is 36 now, was active for a few years when he was in elementary school.  For a variety of reasons we stopped participating, not the least of which was his fear of starter guns.  He would stand at the starter line with his hands on his ears waiting for the gun to go off and after all the other athletes were well on their way he would start his run.

 I assumed with the awareness of sensory issues, sensitivity to sound being a big one, another way to start races would have been in place.  But, as Callie lined up to run for the first time, with her ear protectors in place, she saw the starter gun and started walking briskly the other direction.  I was very clear that if the gun was used, we would likely have to leave and the dad put the gun away without hesitation.  I asked the coach if they would be used at the meets and the answer was a clear yes.

It seemed an e-mail to the state office was in order to express some dismay that the use of guns was still in effect.  The reply I got was that when a sport traditionally uses a starter gun, then that's what they do.  If an athlete has a problem with the gun a whistle can be used in it's place.  Now this really shows no understanding of sensory issues as any gun going off anywhere in the arena will send Callie running - and not as intended.

After stewing about it a bit I decided that we should figure out a way for her to make peace with the starter gun.  She can't spend her whole life arranging her life around the possibility of loud and unexpected noises.    So, a new pair of ear protectors, hopefully a more effective pair, are on order.  The $200+ ones are out of our price range, so hopefully the $35 will suffice.  I'm also tracking down a starter gun and darn it we're going to do our level best to help her overcome her fear.  She's overcome so much, why not this?

Now, as to the Special Olympics - one of the meanings of special refers to exceptional.  Callie is nothing if not exceptional and if anyone deserves to run in the Special Olympics - she does.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Well Preserved

The other day I was shopping with Shannon - a rare occasion for us for several reasons.  Generally I do not shop with children.  The majority of my kids are not recreational shoppers.  This is probably due to the fact that it is rare that a purchase is likely to be made and unless it's a toy - they're not interested.  Works for me.

So, Shannon will soon be 14 - amazing - and we were having a girl's day out.  I found a cute outfit for her at Macy's - major clearance - and we were checking out.  I didn't have my Macy's card, so gave her my ID to look up my account info.  Obviously she took note of my age, but I didn't realize that was the catalyst of the conversational exchange we then had.  She first started commenting on my coral colored hoodie and what a great color it was on me.  Then she proceeded to tell me, in a very thick Asian accent which for some reason made it funnier, how I didn't have any age spots on my face or wrinkles.  Well, now that's just ridiculous as it took me a pound of make up to cover both those things up.

At first I was kind of flattered and then I realized she was commenting because she knew what my advanced age was and I officially have hit the "well-preserved" category.  I guess that's still a good thing, but it's hard to get used to the - you look great...............for your age - comments.